8 October 2017

Eritrea: Interview With President Isaias Afwerki - 'No Preoccupation of Food Shortages This Year'

Asmara — President Isaias Afwerki explained government policies and programmes on key developmental domestic issues and regional developments in an interview held with local media yesterday.

In the interview that was broadcast live on Eri-Tv and Dimtsi Hafahs (the national radio), President Isaias elucidated in detail the policy underpinnings, programmes undertaken in the past years, and progress achieved to date to ensure food security. The multi-layered approach hinges on building the necessary infrastructure to harness water as a foundation in order to incrementally expand irrigation by marshalling the necessary capital and technical investment, President Isaias underlined.

Regarding this year's low rainfall (in July) and the concern it had initially created in terms of total harvest failure, President Isaias stated that there was no reason for concern. The objectives of food security transcends linear targets of adequate cereal production commensurate with annual national demand and export of cash crops. Food security must indeed be viewed in broader terms to incorporate other programmes so as to bring quality improvement in people's lives. The efforts so far have focused on harnessing enough water through construction of dams and water catchment schemes, land preparation for cultivation, putting in place basic infrastructure and introduction of irrigation technology. President Isaias went on to say that although much remains to be done, the experience accumulated in the past 25 years should not be viewed lightly. It will be crucial as a stepping stone for channeling the capacity gleaned so far for better outcome in the period ahead.

President Isaias elaborated in greater detail the efforts exerted to stabilize the exchange rate of Nakfa and to control contraband as well as the opportunities and challenges that must be addressed to encourage domestic private investment in the country's productive sectors. Noting that illicit capital flows and speculation inevitably trigger, unless properly regulated and controlled, inflation and currency depreciation, President Isaias underlined the benefits that accrue to the individuals concerned and to the nation as a whole as the purchasing power of the Nakfa (national currency) is maintained through appropriate policy and regulatory measures.

On national capacity building, President Isaias underlined the need and urgency for further consolidating and expanding the GOE's investment in human capital in the past decades as this is the indispensable multiplier in the country's development and nation-building drive. The resilience of the Eritrean people and their organizational capacity, developed and stimulated during the decades of struggle and adversity, are ital assets that must be reinforced in this phase and that will enhance the dividends when further equipped with knowledge, President Isaias emphasized.

President Isaias also gave extensive exposition on the role of the African countries in the unfolding international world order as well as on the significance of reforming and restructuring the African Union.

Eritrea

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